In the Islamic history, we find various influential personalities, who have contributed immensely to the discipline of mathematics and science. One such influential name is Nasir al-Din al-Tusi. He was born in the 1201 CE, in Tus, which lies close to Meshed in north-eastern Iran. He was educated mainly at a religious establishment, which was supplemented by other subjects taught by his uncle.
Throughout his life, Nasir al-Din al-Tusi focused on such subjects as logic, physics and mathematics. At an early age, he moved to Nishapur, where he studied philosophy, medicine and mathematics. While in Nishapur, he gained the reputation of being an outstanding scholar and became well-known throughout the area.
He wrote a major astronomical treatise called, “Memoir on Astronomy.” In this book, he described a new model of lunar motion, and an invention of new geometric technique called “Tusi-couple” which generated linear motion from the sum of two circular motions. This technique was widely used by all the later astronomers including Copernicus.
One of al-Tusi’s most important mathematical contributions was the creation of trigonometry as a mathematical discipline in its own right, rather than just a tool for astronomical applications.
Al-Tusi wrote extensively on the subject of biology, and he was one of the first to advance the theory of biological evolution. He gave an explanation and argument to say that plants, then animals and then humans evolved; he also argued that heredity and variability were important factors for biological evolution. He gave this idea 600 years before Darwin. However, as opposed to Darwin, he presented his idea based on the Islamic philosophy that Allah (swt) created the world and then His creation developed under His guidance.
Al-Tusi was a great astronomer and mathematician, who also made contributions in the fields of chemistry, physics, biology, philosophy, medicine and theology.
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